Cobus van Bosch    

From Die Burger
10 May 2008

Sensitive view on essence of city

Adrienne van Eeden

VISUAL ART: Cobus van Bosch’s solo exhibition City at the gallery 34Long, 34 Long Street, Cape Town. Until 17 May. Enquiries: 021 426-4594.

CITY is a series of monochrome paintings of cityscapes in which the artist, according to a press release, “focuses on the repetition of various geometric elements in manmade structures”. Van Bosch explores the South African urban environments of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as Paris in France, where he enjoyed a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in 2005.

City can to a certain extent be regarded as a continuation of some themes in the black and white representations of mass and protest marches in March, his previous exhibition (2007) at 34Long.

There are also loose refences to the conceptual implications of the dialogue between observation, pattern, topography and ownership – issues he has worked with in the past.

The absence of colour, and perhaps also of the human figure, as well as the focus on geometrical repetition, contributes to the cool, unemotional atmosphere of the exhibition as a whole. Despite this seemingly removed view, you realise that the city may also be represented as a terrain where “wars” take place on a daily basis – on an ideological, economical or cultural level. Die views of Paris are generally from a far greater distance than those of the other two cities, and are also painted in a far more loose impasto technique – perhaps a more romantic representation of the city, especially at night.

The views of Cape Town and Johannesburg, where the piled-up buidings seem nearly ominous, appear to be much more graphic and calculated. On closer inspection one realises that the images are far less photorealistic than they initially appeared to be. The slight warping is just enough to create a feeling of unease, even claustrophobia.

While a few works are less successful – as in Kaapstad 5, where the simplification of form and tonal values through larger brush strokes is less convincing than in other works, and the miniature abstract compositions in the series TownscapesCity is otherwise a sensitive and well contemplated approach to the often inaccessible, though attractive, nature of the city. 

 



Cape Town, 2008, oil on canvas, 38cm x 76cm.





Johannesburg, 2008, oil on canvas, 50cm x 76cm.





Paris, 2008, oil on canvas, 38cm x 76 cm.





Cape Town, 2008, oil on board, 100cm x 200 cm.


Uit Die Burger
10 Mei 2008

Sensitiewe blik op
wese van stad

Adrienne van Eeden

VISUELE KUNS: Cobus van Bosch se solo-uitstalling City by die galery 34Long, Langstraat, Kaapstad. Tot 17 Mei. Navrae: 021 426-4594.

CITY bestaan uit ’n reeks monochrome skilderye van stedelike landskappe (city­scapes) waarin die kunstenaar, luidens ’n persverklaring, fokus op die herhaling van verskeie geometriese elemente binne kunsmatige strukture. Cobus van Bosch verken op dié wyse die Suid-Afrikaanse stedelike omgewings van Johannesburg en Kaapstad, sowel as Parys in Frankryk (waar hy in 2005 ’n kunsverblyf by die Cité Internationale des Arts geniet het).

City kan in sekere mate beskou word as ’n opvolg van sommige temas in die swart-en-wit voorstellings van verskeie massa- en protesoptogte in March, sy vorige uitstalling by 34Long.

Daar is ook meer losse verwysings na die konseptuele implikasies van die dialoog tussen waarneming, patroon, topografie en eienaarskap – iets waarmee Van Bosch in die verlede al gewerk het.

Die afwesigheid van kleur en straks ook dié van die menslike figuur, sowel as die klem op geometriese herhaling dra by tot die koel, onemosionele stemming van die tentoonstelling as geheel. Ondanks dié oënskynlik verwyderde en onbetrok­ke blik, besef jy dat die stad dalk ook voorgestel word as ’n terrein waar “oorloë” op daaglikse vlak afspeel – hetsy op ideologiese, ekonomiese of kulturele vlak.Die aansigte van Parys is in die algemeen van ’n veel groter afstand as dié van die ander twee stede, en ook geskilder in ’n losser impasto-tegniek – dalk ’n meer romantiese voorstelling van die stad, veral in die aand. Die blikke op Kaapstad en Johannesburg, daarteenoor, waar geboue opeengestapel is en byna onheilspellend voorkom, lyk by die eerste aanblik veel meer grafies en berekend. By nadere beskouing besef jy dat die voorstellings glad nie so fotorealisties is as wat dit aanvanklik mag voorkom nie. Die effense verwringing is net genoeg om ’n ongemaklike, in sommige gevalle selfs kloustrofobiese, gevoel by jou op te wek.

Hoewel enkele werke nie so suksesvol is nie – soos Kaapstad 5, waar die vereenvoudiging van vorm en tonale waardes deur groter kwashale minder oortuigend as in ander werke is, en die miniatuur- abstrakte komposisies in die reeks Townscapes – is City andersins ’n sensitiewe en goeddeurdagte benadering tot die dikwels ongenaakbare, dog aanloklike, wese van die stad.